Thursday, January 7, 2010

Another Way to Look at PeeWee A Hockey - Jan. 7

By frederick61

Minnesota Hockey not only defines the regional and district alignments this year, but also defines the match-ups in each region based on district seeds. Starting in January, each region’s potential division (pool) will be forecasted. In each region, there will be two divisions (Blue and Red) consisting of 4 teams.

After the holidays, the PeeWee A’s switch from emphasizing tourneys and testing each other to positioning themselves for the play down to the state. They set targets. The targets are district seeds to their respective district playoffs that will start the week of Feb 17th, win a regional seed in the district playoffs, and win a state seed in the regional playoffs.

Approximately 97 PeeWee A teams will start the district playoffs for the state title. By Feb 28th, the number will be reduced to 32 regional entries and by March 9th the eight state entries will be known. Around 6:00 pm Sunday, March 21st in Faribault, one team will skate off with the state trophy.

North Region - Three weeks ago, Stillwater and White Bear Lake had a great tourney at the Spirit of Duluth, but last weekend at Edina they struggled. That is the up and down nature of PeeWee hockey. Its kids and they grow and learn in spurts. While the D2 teams struggled, D11 teams did better both at Bemidji and in Thunder Bay.

Hermantown and Cloquet played almost identical seven game schedules over the holidays and both teams had almost identical results, losing two games. At Bemidji, the first lost cost them a ticket to the championship bracket. They both ended up in the second place bracket. Duluth East took a weekend trip to Thunder Bay winning two of three games against AAA Thunder Bay Kings.

D12 teams, Grand Rapids and Virginia, also entered the Bemidji tourney. They really struggled collectively winning two of the ten games they played. With the North Regional still two months away, D12 teams have time to get ready, but they need to start. Hibbing may just do that in Brainerd’s tourney this week.

In the North Red this week, the projected teams are: Duluth East, Stillwater, Greenway, and Hermantown; in the North Blue, the projected teams are: White Bear Lake, Cloquet, Grand Rapids, and Roseville.

D11 - Hermantown was busy over the holidays. The Hawks warmed up for Bemidji by beating Proctor 5-2, Rice Lake Wisconsin 6-2 and Cloquet 3-1. Unfortunately for the Hawks, they drew Bemidji in the opener of pool play and lost 4-3. Hermantown rebounded to soundly beat a tough Sioux Falls 9-1 and a tough Hastings 5-1. In bracket play, the Hawks lost the first game to Fort Francis 4-3 and beat Keweenaw in consolation 2-1. They played seven games in 10 days and did well. This week the Hawks take on Duluth East and Virginia.

Cloquet played a similar schedule, seven games in 10 days including playing in the Bemidji tourney. After losing to Hermantown and beating Rice Lake 5-2, they played at Bemidji and fared slightly better then the Hawks, beating LOW 6-2, losing to Grand Forks 5-2 and beating St. Cloud 6-4 in pool play. They won their opening game in bracket play beating Keweenaw 5-0 before losing to the same Fort Francis team that beat the Hawks 1-0. This week the Lumberjacks take on Superior.

Over the holidays, Duluth East beat Superior 5-2 and then played the Thunder Bay Kings in a three game series in Thunder Bay. The Hounds won two games, 6-5 and 2-1 and lost one game 3-2. The Duluth Lakers play Proctor in D11 this week and travel to Brainerd. In the Warriors tourney, the Lakers play Centennial, Hutchinson and Farmington in pool play. Proctor has won six of their last nine games. Last week the Rails beat Greenway twice, lost to Hibbing 6-4, and beat Virginia 7-0. This week they play Eveleth-Gilbert in addition to the Lakers.

D11 gets three seeds to the North regional. With 5 teams contending and margin of victories narrowing, this district is really wide open. Duluth East is still the #1 seed, but Cloquet as #2 and Hermantown as #3 are pushing the Hounds. The Lakers hit the Brainerd tourney this weekend and should do well, playing in a tough pool. Proctor came close in losing 3-2 to East two weeks ago. The Rails play in an interesting four team tourney in Rice Lake in two weeks joining Coon Rapids and New Prague. It maybe time to get out the old zinc penny.

D12 - Grand Rapids and Virginia struggled in the Bemidji tourney last week. The Thunderhawks started well beating Detroit Lakes 7-3, but then lost to Rogers 5-2 and Fort Francis 4-3 in pool play. The Rapids lost to Hastings 4-3 in OT and beat Armstrong 4-3 in OT in bracket play. The Thunderhawks beat Eveleth-Gilbert 7-2 Virginia 10-3 before losing to Hibbing 8-1 in D12 games prior to going to Bemidji.

At Bemidji, Virginia was beaten by Crookston, Armstrong and Keweenaw in pool play and lost to LOW and Detroit Lakes in bracket play. Hibbing plays in the Brainerd tourney. The Bluejackets play Blaine, River Lakes and Brainerd in pool play. International Falls beat Eveleth-Gilbert last week 8-2. Eveleth plays Greenway this week and then travels to Anoka to play in their tourney. The Golden Bears draw Orono in the opening game.

With two regional seeds available to D12, Grand Rapids takes the #1 seed and Greenway takes the #2 seed. The seeds are unchanged this week.

D2 - Stillwater and White Bear Lake really struggled at the Edina tourney. The Bears fared better tying Fargo 3-3, losing to Elk River 5-3 and beating 6-0. The Ponies lost to Lakeville South 8-3, Wayzata 6-3 and beat Chaska. Both failed to advance to the championship round. White Bear Lake plays Roseville in D2 and Stillwater plays Roseville and Tartan this week. Halfway through regular season play, the Bears and the Ponies are neck and neck for the D2 regular season championship. Their closest competitor is Roseville, two loses this week would push the Raiders to the middle of the pack.

Roseville is coming back from a week off to play Stillwater and White Bear Lake. They have added a game with Minnetonka and that makes for a tough weekend. Mounds View played at Bloomington and played like a bouncing ball, down (lost to Eastview 7-1), up (beat eventual tourney champ Prior Lake 3-1), down (lost to Andover 5-2) and down again (lost to STMA 6-4). The Mustangs have a good team if they can get rolling. They have this week off.

After a week off, Mahtomedi lost a D2 game to Highland 6-4 last week. This week they play in the Governors Cup drawing Princeton in the opener. Tartan plays Irondale and Stillwater in D2 games this week. Forest Lake beat North St. Paul 2-0 last week and play in the Governors Cup this week. They open against Highland. North St. Paul plays in the New Richmond tourney over the weekend.

White Bear Lake takes the #1 spot this week. They simply played better then Stillwater at Edina and pushed a tough Elk River team before losing 5-3. The Ponies take the #2 seed and Roseville the #3 seed.

East Region - Minnesota Hockey not only defines the regional and district alignments this year, but also defines the match-ups in each region based on district seeds. Starting in January, each region’s potential division (pool) will be forecasted. The on-line version will have all four regional pools. In each region, there will be two divisions (Blue and Red) consisting of 4 teams.

In the East Red this week, the projected teams are: Woodbury, Burnsville, Mpls Park, and Rochester; in the East Blue, the projected teams are: Edina, Lakeville South, Highland, and Eden Prairie.

Over the holidays, the “old guard” Edina blitzed two “new guard” teams Highland and STMA. But good peewee teams learn. After a slow start slow at Bloomington, STMA came back to beat Eastview among others to gain the semifinals. Highland played the 97 Fire to a tie for the first 50+ minutes last Sunday in Hudson before losing to the Fire 3-1. Both the Fire and Eastview have pushed Edina in their games; the Fire has beaten the Hornets.

D6 teams won the two holiday city tourneys, Edina taking first in their tourney and Prior Lake came from a #12 seed to win the Bloomington tourney. Congratulations to both teams. Winning either tourney is no simple task.

D1 - St. Paul Johnson’s Governor’s Cup tourney takes the spotlight in D1 action this week. In bracket play, the Saint Paul Saints play Sibley and Mahtomedi plays Princeton in one bracket. In the other, St. Francis plays Hopkins (an interesting test of two improving teams) and Highland plays Forest Lake.

The Highland/97 Fire game Sunday was an evenly matched game. Unlike the game the previous week, the Fire played hockey and used their skills to compensate for their lack of size against the bigger Highland team to win 3-1. The Caps started reasonably fast this time with either team trapping the other in its own defensive zone for long periods of time, forcing the goalies to play well. They did. After the Fire scored off a melee in the Caps crease, the Caps tied the game 1-1. That was the score through two 17 minute stop time periods, an ice cleaning, and the first 13 minutes of a 21 minute running time third period. Then the Fire got their second goal on a power play again off a melee around the Caps goal and added a third goal shortly after. It was a fast, nicely skated game. On Sunday, the Caps beat Mahtomedi 6-4 in D2 action to remain unbeaten in league play.

Mpls Park beat the Saint Paul Saints and Irondale by the same 7-0 score. The Saints also lost to Coon Rapids 5-3 and to Spring Lake Park 5-3 last week. Mpls Park plays in Anoka’s tourney on the weekend, drawing the host in the opener in a game between two tough teams. Besides playing in their own tourney, the Saints play Stillwater in D2 action at the Blizzard Arena. What a chilly January thought, a parent could be driving his kid in a blizzard to a game at the Blizzard while the kid is eating a Blizzard. Only in Minnesota.

Highland Central keeps the #1 seed and the Storm takes the #2 seed. The Caps continue to play well.

D6 - Edina’s loss to Eden Prairie to snap a 24 game winning streak didn’t slow the Hornets at all. After beating Highland, the Hornets swept through some tough opposition in their tourney, beating Centennial 5-2, Rosemount 9-1, Osseo/Maple Grove 8-2, Elk River 5-0 and Wayzata 3-2 in the championship game. This week, they return to D6 to play Eastview. The Hornets are sitting on top of the peewee A’s this week. Appropriately, after playing Eastview, they are taking a week off. Enjoy the view. The Hornets have earned it.

After being off during the holidays, the Burnsville plays Kennedy this week. The Blaze and Eden Prairie are in virtual tie for second behind Edina in D6. Prior Lake/Savage won the Bloomington tourney the hard way. In pool play, they lost three straight to Andover 4-0, Mounds View 3-1 and Eastview 3-2. That gave the Lakers the last (#12) seed in bracket play against the #5 seed Kennedy. The Lakers then beat Kennedy 5-3, Andover 4-2, STMA 6-3 (avenging an earlier loss in the Orono tourney), and Orono 5-1 in the Championship game. What a turn around.

Kennedy’s play was surprising in their tourney. The Eagles tied Arvada Colorado 0-0, beat STMA 3-2 and tied Lakeville North 1-1 to take the #5 seed. Jefferson suffered a tough opening loss to Anoka in pool play 5-2, but came back from a 4-1 deficit to beat Orono 6-5 in one of the best games over the holidays. Down by three goals midway through the last period, a goal from just inside the red line ignited the Jags who scored four more goals in the last 5 minutes to win. Unfortunately, their rally against Woodbury the next day fell short as they lost 5-4. Worst, the seeding setup a return match the next morning with the Royals and they lost again 5-0.

Eastview looked like world beaters in pool play beating Andover 5-1 and Mounds View 7-1 in addition to Prior Lake. But STMA caught the Lightning by surprise beating Eastview 3-2 in bracket play. Chaska struggled at Edina, losing in pool play to Wayzata 11-3, Stillwater 6-3 and Lakeville South 3-0.

The top 5 spots in D6 are worth something in the playoffs. Edina seems a lock for #1 and Eden Prairie and Burnsville seem to have the edge for #2 and #3 (but both teams are coming off of long layoffs). With Eastview, Prior Lake, and Minnetonka challenging, it is musical chairs. One of these teams will not take a top 5 spot and there are 6 D6 games left for most teams.

This week, Edina looks to have a lock on D6 ticket to the East Region. Burnsville remains #2 and Eden Prairie #3. Both these teams will be tested as they return to action.

D8 - Woodbury and Rosemount tangled in a D8 game prior to going their separate ways for the holidays. Woodbury won 6-4 to keep first place in D8.

Lakeville South, Rosemount and Eagan struggled in the Edina tourney. The Cougars fared the best beating Chaska 3-0, Stillwater 8-3 before losing to Wayzata 5-0. South fans then moved next door to root on rival Rosemount to keep the goal differential in their game to less then 3. The Irish lost 4-2 and South moved into the semis on Sunday as the wild card only to lose Wayzata 4-1 and Elk River 6-1. The Irish tied OMG 2-2 and lost to Edina in their other pool games. Eagan never got rolling losing to Elk River 11-2, Fargo 9-1 and White Bear Lake 6-0 in pool play.

Woodbury struggled at Bloomington losing their opener to Orono 2-1 tying Anoka 2-2 before beating Jefferson. The Royals put two wins together beating Jefferson 5-0 and D8 rival Lakeville North 5-2 to make it to semifinal day. There the Royals ran into Orono again and lost again 4-3 before coming back to beat STMA 7-5 for third. Lakeville North was on a roll in the tourney beating STMA 12-1 and Arvada 6-1 before tying Kennedy 1-1 in pool play.

Before Hastings traveled to Bemidji, they lost a tough game to Lakeville South 3-2. At Bemidji, the Raiders tied Sioux Falls 4-4, lost to host Bemidji 5-3 and Hermantown 5-1 in pool play. In bracket play, the Raiders beat Grand Rapids 4-3 in OT and lost to St. Cloud 3-2 in OT. Hastings looks tough, losing a number of one goal games.

Rochester stayed within D8 and racked up two wins (South St. Paul and Cottage Grove) and one tie (Farmington). The tie was Rochester’s fourth in 10 D8 games. They play Lakeville South in a key D8 game this week. Farmington plays in the Brainerd tourney this weekend. The Tigers draw Centennial, Hutchinson and the Duluth Lakers in pool play. Sibley play Hastings and play in the Governor’s Cup this week, opening against the Saint Paul Saints.

Dodge County beat Albert Lea 4-0 this week to bring their season record to .500. They play in the Austin tourney on the weekend drawing Austin, Champlin Park, South St. Paul, and Sioux Falls. Northfield plays Waseca, Faribault, and Red Wing in the Waseca tourney. Red Wing lost to Apple Valley 7-2 last week.

Both Lakeville South and Woodbury continue to struggle, but Lakeville South took a hard loss to Rosemount, a team Woodbury beat less then a week later. That is enough to return the #1 seed to the Royals. The Cougars take #2 and Rochester (tie games and all) take the #3 seed. Rosemount, Farmington, Hastings and Lakeville North are all in contention in a very balanced D8 this year.

South Region - Orono and STMA did not meet in the Bloomington tourney, but Orono did well make it to the championship game before losing to D6 Prior Lake. Wayzata had the same experience in the Edina tourney. The Trojans made it to the championship game before losing to another D6 team, Edina. D4 had a quiet holiday in the sense that D4 teams keep to “home cooking” playing mostly league games and no tourneys. D5 teams did the same except for STMA entering the Bloomington tourney.

In the South Red this week, the projected teams are: Wayzata, STMA, New Prague, and Faribault; in the South Blue, the projected teams are: Sartell, Orono, Mankato and Osseo/Maple Grove.

In such a South Regional alignment, Wayzata and STMA are clear favorites to finish 1-2 in the Red. But in the Blue it would be a real toss-up. If Orono could finish first in the Blue, the irony would be Orono would be playing STMA for a ticket to the state tourney.

D3 - Wayzata challenged Edina in their own tourney over the New Year’s weekend and came close, losing to Edina in the championship game 3-2. To get there, the Trojans played near perfect hockey in their pool beating Stillwater 5-0, Lakeville South 5-0 and Chaska 11-3. That gave them the maximum goal differential (+15) and the #1 in the semis. They beat Lakeville South again 4-1 to gain the championship game. This week the Trojans play Mound/Westonka in a D3 game.

Orono was the other big news in D3. The Spartans came close in the Bloomington tourney. In seven games over 5 days, the Spartans beat Woodbury 2-1, lost to Jefferson 6-5, tied Anoka 1-1, beat Andover 2-0, beat Anoka 4-1, beat Woodbury 4-3 and lost to Prior Lake in the championship game 5-1 to finish second. Last weekend, they beat Brainerd 5-1. This week, the Spartans play in the Anoka tourney play Eveleth-Gilbert in the opener.

Osseo/Maple Grove had a tough run over the holidays. At Edina, OMG tied Rosemount 2-2, lost to Centennial 5-2 and lost to Edina in pool play. They return to D3 action this week playing Armstrong and Hopkins. Hopkins plays in the Governor’s Cup this week opening against St. Francis in one of the more interesting games this week. Armstrong traveled to Bemidji and in pool play they lost to Keweenaw 3-1, beat Virginia, and lost to Crookston 10-4. In bracket play, they lost to St. Cloud 4-1 and to Grand Rapids 4-3 in OT. North Metro plays in the Chisago Lakes tourney on the weekend.

Wayzata keeps the #1 seed. Orono takes the #2 seed based on their performance in the Bloomington tourney. OMG hangs on to the #3 seed, but watch out for Hopkins. They could tangle with Highland in the Governor’s Cup semifinals.

D4 - New Prague won two key D4 games over the weekend. They beat their closest competitors in the East Division, Mason City Iowa 7-0 and Faribault 6-0. Those wins opened a lead for the Trojans in the East. This week, they play Owatonna and Mankato. The Mavericks are unbeaten in D4.

Faribault will be busy this week. They play Northfield, Albert Lea and in the Waseca tourney on the weekend. Albert Lea lost to Mason City 6-1 last week. This week they play Owatonna. Austin hosts its tourney this weekend. The field includes another Packer team; South St. Paul. Champlin Park, Dodge County, and Sioux Falls join the the two “Packers”. Waseca has their tourney. The field includes Northfield, Red Wing and Faribault.

Over in the West Division, Mankato added three more D4 wins, beating Albert Lea 3-1, Luverne 4-1 and Marshall 8-2. This week, the Mavericks play New Ulm and Prior Lake before taking on New Prague. St. Peter had three wins of their own beating Austin 8-1, Mason City 5-2 and Luverne 4-3. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs have only three D4 games left need a lot of help to keep their lead over the Mavericks.

The seeds are unchanged from last week. Mankato keeps the #1 seed this week. New Prague takes the #2 seed. Faribault takes the #3 seed this week.

D5 - After a week off, Sartell returned to D5 action with a 5-1 win over Mound/Westonka and a 6-4 win Buffalo. This week, they play a single game with Alexandria before hosting their own tourney in two weeks. Hutchinson remained on top of D5 courtesy of the Sabre’s lost “unfairplay” points. Hutchinson beat MAML 4-1 last week. This week they head to Brainerd. In pool play, the Hutch draws Centennial, Farmington and the Duluth Lakers. They will be tested.

River Lakes joins Hutchinson in the Brainerd tourney. In their pool they draw the Host, Hibbing and Blaine. STMA lost their first two games in the Bloomington tourney, 5-1 to Lakeville North and 3-2 to Kennedy. The Knights then put three wins together to gain the semifinals. They beat Arvada Colorado 3-1, Mounds View 6-4 and Eastview 3-2. The Knights lost to Prior Lake 6-3 in the semis and to Woodbury in the third place game. They returned to D5 action and beat Litchfield 10-3.

Mound/Westonka tied MAML 2-2 and lost to Buffalo 4-2 in additional to losing to Sartell. That made a tough week for the Whitehawks who tied a tough Mpls Park team 0-0 two weeks ago. This week, it gets no easier as they return to D3 to play Wayzata. Crow River travels to Anoka to play in their tourney on the weekend. They play Littleton Colorado in their opener.

Buffalo beat MAML 5-1 last week in addition to playing Sartell. This week the Bison play River Lakes and STMA in a key game for the Bison before they head to St. Cloud for their tourney in two weeks.

Sartell takes the #1 seed this week. The Sabres have been playing well, but they will be tested in two weeks in the St. Cloud Geyer Signal Center Ice Classic tourney. They are pooled with Minnetonka, Mounds View and Brainerd. STMA takes the #2 seed. The Knights did well in Bloomington and are also in the Geyer Signal tourney. They are pooled with Eagan, Mpls Park and host St. Cloud. Hutchinson still contends and they will be tested at Brainerd. With Mound/Westonka struggling and Buffalo still an unknown (they have a tough pool in the Geyer Signal tourney), Crow River looks to be the only challenger this week to the top three (and they will be tested at Anoka).

West Region - Elk River and East Grand Forks look to own this region. That was the opening prediction in November. But now some doubt creeps in. That is because peewee kids will always change at this point from early November to mid-January. They grow physically and they grow mentally better linking their physical skills. Here is the tricky part, the kids learn strangely, sometimes over night and sometimes over and over again.

The Elks looked to be on a roll in the Edina tourney and got rolled by Edina in the semis. EGF slipped just a little in beating Thief River Falls. That November edge these teams had over other teams could have narrowed. Hockey is always a marathon. Each game is a marathon. Each season is a marathon. As in a marathon race where distance between the leaders and the pack shortens near the end, the difference in team strengths narrow as the playoffs approach, especially in peewee A hockey.

In the West Red this week, the projected teams are: Moorhead, Bemidji, Andover, and Princeton; in the West Blue, the projected teams are: East Grand Forks, Detroit Lakes, Elk River, and Alexandria.

D10 - This year for some reason only the hockey ghosts know, D10 had two teams in each of the three big tourneys over the holidays. Elk River and Centennial played in the Edina tourney; Andover and Anoka played in the Bloomington tourney; and St. Cloud and Rogers played in the Bemidji tourney. They played well considering they played a number of D10 games in the same time period.

Before the Elks hit Bremar Arena, they warmed up by adding two D10 wins, beating Chisago Lakes 8-0 and Blaine 6-2. In the Edina Tourney, the Elks swept their pool beating Eagan 11-2, White Bear Lake 5-3, and Fargo 7-4, to advance to the championship semis on Sunday. Unfortunately they did not get that magic +15 in goal differential and drew Edina. They lost to the Hornets 5-0 and came back to beat Lakeville South 6-1 for third.

Between the D10 wins and the Edina tourney, the Elks beat a tough Minnetonka team 6-3. The Elks are busy this week, playing a Colorado (Littleton?) team, Coon Rapids, St. Cloud and Anoka. Centennial came close in the Edina tourney in making the semifinals. They lost to Edina 5-2, beat Osseo/Maple Grove and beat Rosemount 4-2 in pool play but lost the wild card on goal differential. They had two D10 wins prior to the Edina tourney, beating Champlin Park 4-1 and St. Francis 5-2.

Andover beat Blaine in D10 and then they traveled to Bloomington. In pool play, they beat Prior Lake/Savage 4-0, lost to Eastview 5-1 and beat Mounds View 5-2. The Huskies sandwiched another D10 victory over CINB 9-1 between pool games. The Huskies ended with the #4 wild card seed and bye into the second round. They lost to Prior Lake 4-2. This week, the Huskies play in their “border battle” rival Anoka’s tourney. They draw Apple Valley in the opener.

Anoka had a good Bloomington tourney. They are an improving team. They took their pool by beating Jefferson 5-2, tying Woodbury 2-2 and tying Orono 1-1. As the #3 seed, they had a bye into the second round of bracket play, but lost to Orono 4-1. Unfortunately, the Tornados returned to D10 play and lost to Blaine 3-2 and Coon Rapids 6-2. This week, Anoka hosts its own tourney drawing Mpls Park in the opener.

Rogers had a good tourney at Bemidji. They won their pool just as Anoka did, tying Fort Francis 3-3, beating Grand Rapids 5-3 and tying Detroit Lakes 5-5. In the championship bracket, they lost to Bemidji 2-1 and Grand Forks 4-3. St. Cloud had a tougher time. In pool play, they lost to Grand Forks 6-5, beat LOW 10-2, and lost to Cloquet 6-3. St. Cloud won their bracket, beating Armstrong 4-1 and Hastings in OT.

St. Francis played five D10 games over the holidays and went 2-2-1. The Fighting Saints lost to Centennial 5-2, beat Rogers 2-1, beat CINB 4-2, lost to Princeton 5-2 and tied Spring Lake Park 0-0. That put the Fighting Saints in tie with Spring Lake Park atop the D10 Green. Princeton and Rogers trail closely. St. Cloud is tailing those because of 5 tied games and a loss of 4 “unfairplay” points. In the D10 Blue, Elk River and Andover remain unbeaten and on top, Centennial trails in third. Anoka by losing their last two D10 games, trail Centennial.

Elk River and Andover continue to dominate the Blue Division and Spring Lake Park, St. Francis, Princeton and Rogers are all knotted in the Green. Elk River takes the #1 seed, Andover the #2 seed and Princeton takes the #3 seed. The Tigers draw Mahtomedi in the Governor’s Cup. They will be tested.

D15 - Detroit Lakes and Moorhead were in a virtual tie in D15. Then the Lakers lost to Moorhead 5-2 last week. Moorhead now leads in D15. The Lakers also played Prairie Centre before heading to Bemidji. In pool play at Bemidji, DL lost to Grand Rapids 7-3, tied Fort Francis 2-2 and tied Rogers 5-5. In bracket play the lost to Sioux Falls 3-0 and beat Virginia 5-0. Not a bad holiday season for Detroit Lakes, but the Spuds loss hurts.

Alexandria had a single D15 game over the holidays, beating Northern Lakes 6-0. This week, they play two tough teams, Sartell and Moorhead. The Moorhead game is another key D15 game. The Spuds are unbeaten in league play. Besides losing to EGF last week, Moorhead beat Northern Lakes and beat West Fargo 1-0.

Brainerd beat Greenway 8-3 and took a Minnesota tour. The Warriors were the visitors and they lost to Orono 5-1, tied Jefferson 3-3 and lost to the Duluth Lakers 7-2 on New Years weekend. Sounds like a fun trip on a bus. Brainerd hosts an eight team, two pool, tourney this week. Joining Brainerd in one pool is Hibbing, River Lakes and Blaine. Teams in the other pool are Hutchinson, Centennial, Farmington and the Duluth Lakers. This is an interesting tourney. Hibbing has been improving, Blaine has been struggling. Brainerd should have a chance to do well in their pool.

Moorhead keeps the #1 seed this week. They beat Detroit Lakes. Detroit Lakes keeps the #2 seed. Alex takes the #3 seed. D15 is unchanged this week and remains a three team race. A good showing in their tourney by Brainerd could change that.

D16 - East Grand Forks continued to roll beating Thief River Falls 7-5 and Moorhead 4-0 last week. This week, the Green Wave play Warroad and Hallock in D16 games and the Grand Forks Greyhounds. They remain unbeaten in D16 play. Their next big challenge will be the Roseau tourney when a number of twin cities teams invade the North, although EGF shouldn’t over look the Fargo Flyers in two weeks. The Flyers had a good Edina tourney. In pool play, the beat Eagan 9-1, tied White Bear Lake 3-3 and lost to Elk River 7-4. The Flyers have one of the better centers in peewees this year.

Bemidji won their Paul Bunyan Invitational tourney and showed the Lumberjacks’ strength this year. They took the Dave’s Pizza Pool by beating Hermantown, Hastings and Sioux Falls. The Corner Bar pool winner was Rogers; the Hampton Inn pool winner was Crookston; and the McDonald’s pool was Cloquet. In the championship bracket, the Lumberjacks beat Rogers 2-1 and D16 rival Crookston 4-2. They added a win over Grand Rapids 4-1 to end a good week. They won the Paul Bunyan tourney the first time in 15 years. The Lumberjacks play Warroad this week.

Crookston continues to show strength. They easily won their pool beating Virginia, Keweenaw and Armstrong. In the championship bracket, they beat Grand Forks 8-7 before losing the championship to the Lumberjacks. LOW, the third D16 team entered, struggled in their pool, losing to Cloquet 6-2, St. Cloud 10-2, and Grand Forks 6-4. In bracket play, LOW beat Virginia 7-1 and lost to Sioux Falls in OT 8-7. Overall, the three D16 teams played well.

Roseau has been off since December 20th of last year and won’t play until they meet Warroad on January 12th. With a full peewee A tourney that the Rams are hosting in three weeks, they will have their hands full. Thief River Falls has a tourney this weekend, teams unknown.

East Grand Forks is the #1 seed this week, but could see some pressure inside D16 as they head for the playoffs. Bemidji is the #2 seed. The Lumberjacks played well in their tourney last week. For the first time this year, some challengers are emerging in D16. Crookston also had a good Bemidji tourney finishing second and Thief River Falls owns a win over Bemidji and pushed the Green Wave before losing 7-5 last week. LOW may have lost their first two games in pool play at Bemidji, but they came close against Grand Forks in the third game and almost won their bracket.

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